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Bonjour de Paris: Bastille Day

By: Taylor York

Hello again!

I’m now halfway through my time here in Paris, and time is flying! I’ve visited so many amazing places and made so many new friends. Not to mention, the classes are great, too. It’s so cool to learn about something like the Notre Dame cathedral or the Sainte Chappele and then walk by it on your way to the store after class. This city is so full of life and culture. This week has really put the world in perspective for me. People from different places and different backgrounds are still very much the same–a smile is the same in every language.

I had the opportunity of celebrating Bastille Day with the French people, and what a fun filled day it was! Early in the morning, we made our way to Champs Élysées to see the military parade. I quickly learned that not all parades are like the ones back home. The French people didn’t shout and party when people would go by. They applauded and showed their respect to the military. It was such a patriotic atmosphere. As the jets soared over the crowd with their blue, white and red smoke, I stood in awe. This city never ceases to amaze me. To continue the celebration, I witnessed what many people dream of witnessing: at 11 p.m., I sat with my friends on a picnic blanket in front of the Eiffel Tower and watched the fireworks. Talk about breathtaking!

Before the fireworks, there was a concert held by the French National Orchestra and the France Radio Choir. I love the massive amount of appreciation that the French have for art. The concert was magnificent. It closed with the French national anthem playing through the loud speakers and everyone joined in.

As I watched the fireworks, I thought about how much study abroad has already changed my life. It’s not just classes, and it’s not just travel. It’s an experience like no other, and I’m not even finished yet. I still have more to learn and experience. While Paris is undoubtedly an adventurous city, this weekend, I get to go on a new adventure with some of my new friends. Hello Rome, Italy!

Paris, I’ll be back soon!

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